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 Forum index » DIY Hardware and Software » Musical Interfaces
Salvaging electric organs
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Christoffer



Joined: May 16, 2015
Posts: 9
Location: Denmark

PostPosted: Sat May 16, 2015 8:40 am    Post subject: Salvaging electric organs
Subject description: Salvaging the keyboards from electric organs
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Hey! Newly registered, hope someone here has some insight on this subject.
I'm trying to make a CV/GATE keyboard, they're pretty hard to find nowdays, and thankfully, there are plenty of circuits out there for just that, but I'd like to find some keys that is easy to mod/interface.

In Denmark, dunno if this is a general thing, in the 70's, EVERY FAMILY WHO WAS ANYTHING had one of those electric organs in the living room.
As a consequence, there's always a million for sale cheap or free if you pick them up yourself. I know there can be a lot of good parts in them, like rotary speakers, spring reverbs and so on, but is the keyboards reusable?
Has anyone tried this? I'd like some knowledge before I plunge out and get a furniture sized instrument Very Happy

Thanks in advance!
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The Peasant



Joined: Nov 13, 2009
Posts: 93
Location: Sunny Alberta
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PostPosted: Sat May 16, 2015 9:43 am    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

My wife did exactly what you are talking about, very successfully:

http://www.celticpeasant.com/physical/keyboard/keyboard.html

Take care,
Doug

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Christoffer



Joined: May 16, 2015
Posts: 9
Location: Denmark

PostPosted: Sat May 16, 2015 2:38 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

The Peasant wrote:
My wife did exactly what you are talking about, very successfully:

http://www.celticpeasant.com/physical/keyboard/keyboard.html

Take care,
Doug


Thanks! Good to know it's possible! If only i was that good at woodworking!

- Typically, does this type of keyboard have a switch per key, or diode matrix or something different entirely?
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The Peasant



Joined: Nov 13, 2009
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PostPosted: Sat May 16, 2015 3:16 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

Typically these older type organs are either one or two switch per key. The one that she used had spring type switches that connected to a common bus.

Take care,
Doug

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Christoffer



Joined: May 16, 2015
Posts: 9
Location: Denmark

PostPosted: Sun May 17, 2015 5:45 am    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

Well that's perfect. I'll go find me one of those then. I'm sure there's a lot of other savage-worthy parts in it.

--Christoffer
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Christoffer



Joined: May 16, 2015
Posts: 9
Location: Denmark

PostPosted: Tue May 19, 2015 10:46 am    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

Whoa, I can highly recommend the electric organ for salvaging!
Besides two switch-per-key to buss keyboards, it held a similar
1oct foot controller, spring reverb assembly, leslie speaker assembly, and a million HQ capacitors, op-amps, etc.

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JL



Joined: Jun 25, 2012
Posts: 17
Location: New England

PostPosted: Thu May 28, 2015 8:06 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

Yep, plenty of good parts to salvage. Keyboards, speakers, rotary speakers, wire, inductors, obsolete transistors, drum machines, the list goes on. Sometimes you'll find rare/proprietary ICs in the tone generators, dividers, filters/voicing sections etc. that can be worth a little money if they happen to be used in synthesizers/combo organs of that era. It kills me when I read posts about somebody ripping apart old organs for just one or two things and throwing away the rest of the good parts. I'd avoid reusing any old electrolytics though. They are way past their serviceable lifespan by now.

In a few of the cheaper ones I've salvaged there was a dedicated board for ensemble/chorus, presumably to make up for the lack of a real rotary speaker. I put one in it's own enclosure to use as a standalone effect with very little modification to the circuitry required.
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Christoffer



Joined: May 16, 2015
Posts: 9
Location: Denmark

PostPosted: Mon Jun 01, 2015 4:22 am    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

The only problem with reusing modules as a whole, is that they require some insane PSU voltages. You could of course use the psu from the organ, but then you have only one module powered, unless you want to make it a modular thing. In some of the cases, it seems more feasible to yank the components and then use them to make a similar replacement, but with more std. voltages.
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JL



Joined: Jun 25, 2012
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Location: New England

PostPosted: Mon Jun 01, 2015 8:51 am    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

I guess it depends on the organ. Most that I've taken apart have run on something like 12-15V, usually single-ended.
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